By Daniel Berhane,
Ethiopian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne, has asked United Nations Security Councils that remittances should not be included in any sanctions regime that may be imposed on Eritrea.
He made the above statement in the Informal Interactive Dialogue with Security Council members’ held on July 19 following Eritrea’s request. Also present are Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and Somalia.
Hailemariam Desalegne, who is current Chair of the Council of Ministers of IGAD, spoke in the meeting ‘on behalf of IGAD’ underlining that ‘we [IGAD member countries] speak collectively because we face a common challenge.’
It is to be recalled that IGAD’s Assembly urged for more sanctions on Eritrea in its Extra-Ordinary session. IGAD’s July 4th Communiqué reads:
[IGAD] calls on the AU(African Union) and the UN Security Council to fully implement the existing sanctions and impose additional Sanctions selectively on the Eritrean Regime specially on those economic and mining sectors that the regime draws on including the Eritrean Diaspora as well as ensuring compliance with previous decisions of the UN.
However, Hailemariam Desalegne, who elaborated on what the new sanctions are meant to be said, after noting that ‘it is indeed time to impose concrete economic sanctions’ to deny the Eritrean government the financial resources.
The two sources of revenue, according to Hailemariam are:
- The funds extracted from the Eritrean Diaspora, both through 2% tax on all incomes, and by fund raising activities
- The new mining developments in Eritrea
However, he qualified his request saying:
Equally, of course, it should be noted that most Eritreans also depend upon remittances from relatives abroad and remittances should not be included in any sanctions regime. But the 2% tax and the revenue from mining and the extraction industries must be subject to sanctions. The government should be prevented from having access to these funds.
Hailemariam’s insistence that remittance should be excluded from sanctions could be a gesture to pose a humanely face at the Security Council and probably to appease the Eritrean Diaspora – a significant part of whom failed to endorse the Ethiopian-backed opposition groups.
It will be a mockery of justice and an unforgivable betrayal to the Eritrean people if members of the Security Council failed to realize the reason behind these latest push for another sanction by Ethiopia and USA. Granting what Ethiopia wishes this time will bring nothing but death and destruction in the whole region. Ethiopia has no capacity to do all these damages on her own if not for the full diplomatic and financial support from the United States. If what they are planning is sure to come up on us, then we will have no option except to stand firmly alongside our government (irrespective of our differences) to defend the sovereignty of our mother land – ERITREA. But for the USA, it will leave a deep hatred for generations to come.